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Stock Downgrades: Run From JPMorgan Chase


Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.

Wall Street's expensively compensated army of "experts," eh? What would we ever do without them. The same self-styled gurus who assured us tapering was a slam dunk in September found themselves flabbergasted in December when the announcement ultimately arrived. As a result, both the Dow Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) and S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX) each ended at historic highs. US stock markets soared as the Fed, which has an American eagle emblazoned upon its DC headquarters, presented investors with a black swan event that arrived on the wings of a dove. Just so long as they stay away from ducks, for those quackpots recently turned Washington into a laughing stock. Impressive economic reports also boosted bourses, including the strongest monthly showing in housing starts since January 1990. That was indeed a banner month for capitalism, when Romania became the first Warsaw Pact member to ban the Communist party and the Dow hit a record (of 2,810.15; how terribly quaint). As Ben Bernanke engineered a Hollywood ending to his tenure as Fed head, Bollywood equity Eros International (NYSE:EROS) advanced 2.16% on an upbeat analyst assessment, and cinema stock AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) soared 5.00% on its trading debut. Alas, not all shares fared as well. Marks & Spencer (OTCMKTS:MAKSY), a darling of Margaret Thatcher, dropped 1.28% on pessimistic comments. The Iron Lady, famously described as "the only man in her cabinet," would find it amusing that the iconic English retailer now sells gender-neutral toys.

In terms of economic events that may move US markets today, December's Philadelphia Fed Index, along with last month's leading indicators and existing home sales, all arrive at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Regarding specific stocks, expect earnings announcements out of Accenture (NYSE:ACN), ConAgra (NYSE:CAG), Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI), KB Home (NYSE:KBH), Nike (NYSE:NKE), Red Hat (NYSE:RHT), Tibco Software (NASDAQ:TIBX), and Worthington Industries (NYSE:WOR).

AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV): Morgan Stanley moves the stock to Equal Weight from Overweight.

Canon (NYSE:CAJ): Japanese electronics giant Canon sees its stock slashed to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.

Ford Motor (NYSE:F): Ford Motor stock is cut to Hold from Buy at boutique brokerage Craig-Hallum. Shares of Ford Motor fell 6.29% yesterday.

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM): Stock in JPMorgan Chase, a key Dow component, is now Neutral from Buy at SunTrust.

Puma Biotechnology (NYSE:PBYI): Stifel cuts Puma Biotechnology stock to Hold from Buy. This is essentially a stretched valuation call, as neratinib sales estimates remain relatively robust.

Solta Medical (NASDAQ:SLTM): Shares get lowered to Perform from Outperform at Leerink Swann.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Listen Up, Chaps -- Ralph Lauren Is Dressed for Success and Stock Upgrades: Callaway Golf Fit for a President)
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